Legion rally falls short

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

High Point advanced to the Area III championship series in Game 4 of the first-round series, but at least the Mocksville Legion baseball team went down swinging.

After trailing 7-1 at Rich Park on July 6, the game ended with the tying run at second. But Mocksville fell just short, 8-6, losing the series three games to one.

“I couldn’t be any more proud to see them fight to the end,” coach Tristan Wyatt said. “We fought back. A lot of people didn’t see us as playoff contenders and we hung in there with maybe the best team.”

After four lifeless innings, Mocksville began to make noise in the bottom of the fifth. The two-run rally was certainly aided by High Point’s wildness on the mound. After the first two batters got out, five straight reached without getting a hit – there were three walks and two hit batsmen.

There was a lightning delay after the fifth. When play resumed, Mocksville clawed back some more. Shawn Sealey’s hit knocked in Sean Doty and Riley Campbell scored when Caden Irvin reached on an error. Now it was 7-5.

High Point got an insurance run in the top of the seventh, but in the bottom half, Mocksville rallied once again. Bryson Morrison was hit by a pitch, Aaron Hutchens walked, and with two outs, Mason Moxley kept his team alive with a single that loaded the bases. Campbell singled to right to make it 8-6.

The bases were loaded. A gapper and Mocksville might win in walk-off fashion. But the batter struck out on three pitches and that was that.

But the way Mocksville fought til the end provided some comfort to Wyatt.

“It was a very tough beginning to the game,” Wyatt said. “We had a couple mishaps. (Starting pitcher Shawn Sealey) was off and on, but he did what he could.

“After the rain delay, the boys came out ready to show they’re weren’t just going to lay down. We tried our best. We had a lot of good ABs, a lot of good approaches and High Point helped us a little bit.”

High Point (20-5) outhit Mocksville 15-6. Campbell (1-3, two runs, walk), Sealey (1-4, walk), Irvin (1-3), Myles Crocker (1-3, walk), Morrison (1-2, walk) and Moxley (1-1) had the hits for Post 174. Cooper Bliss reached twice on walks. Sealey (five innings) and Doty (two) did the pitching.

Mocksville went from 7-14 in Wyatt’s first year to 11-15 in 2024. While that was a nice jump, he has plenty of concerns as he looks ahead to 2025.

“It’s going to be a struggle because we’re going to lose a lot of key players,” he said. “We’re going to have to rebuild.”

Notes: Mocksville’s .300 hitters were Moxley at .390, Irvin .384, Sealey .319 and Bliss .305. … The top three in runs were Morrison with 13, Sealey 12 and Campbell 11. … Irvin had five doubles, while Crocker, Moxley and Aundray Russell had three each. … Morrison led with two home runs. Bliss, Campbell, Crocker and Evan Hyde had one each. … Morrison had 13 RBIs and Hyde 10. Bliss, Crocker and Irvin had nine each. … The top three in walks/HBPs were Crocker with 13 and Jay Brookshire and Russell with 12 apiece. … The stolen base leader was Russell with 10, followed by Brookshire with six. … On the season, High Point took five of six from Mocksville, which suffered its fifth straight losing season. Post 174 has gone 11 seasons without a winning record.